moderated #ediscussionday3 - diagnosis and measurement #ediscussionday3

Adriano Scarampi

Dear all,


thank you Saskia for kicking off the day, to Nisha for coordinating us all so well, and to all the other facilitators for three days of great conversations!

First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Adriano Scarampi, I am the Advisory Practice Lead at MarketShare Associates. I have been extremely lucky recently to work on some fascinating studies to identify and map social norms across several sectors, including technical and vocational education training (TVET), low-income housing construction, agriculture, and most recently in financial inclusion with CGAP in Turkey. I hope I can bring some good insights to the discussion.

Over the last few days we have learnt from Ben what social norms are (loved the presentation, but will now need think twice before going back to the swimming pool!), and we talked a lot about strategy – how can social norms effect women’s financial inclusion, how can we best target social norms, how can we design effective interventions, and what do behaviour change approaches look like. However, making sense of social norms, and knowing how to translate theory into practice/strategy can only happen if you do your research right, and you diagnose the system correctly. In the next 2.5 hours I would like to shift the conversation away from strategy, and talk about everyone’s favourite topic: research and measurement!

Many of us will probably agree that researching social norms can be a daunting task. You are often dealing with very sensitive issues that need to be discussed with care, the risk of bias is particularly strong as respondents might be uncomfortable sharing their real opinion, and it is often hard to unpack to what extent it is social norms that shape a behaviour, rather than an individuals' own personal beliefs, or other factors. Because of its complexity, social norms research can also be expensive, especially when using quantitative methods, which can discourage donors and implementers from even looking into it.

During this discussion, I would love to hear about your experiences designing and implementing social norms research, and in particular:

  • Most of my focus, to date, has been on qualitative methods. I’d love to hear your thoughts on quantitative vs qualitative methods, and when you think that mixed methods, or a primarily quantitative study is necessary, and how you have juggled the trade-offs of each.
  • How do you identify social norms? What has worked in your research approach?
  • If you were to conduct a qualitative study, how long does this generally take, and how many resources are involved?
  • Are there any lessons learnt from conducting your research that you would like to share with the community?

There is a ton of reading out there that you might find useful, but here are some great resources

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